Perth

Tuesday 29th April 2008, Perth.

We have spent the past two days looking for another caravan park as we are not completely happy with the one we are at. We have decided that parks in Perth have over-inflated prices for what they provide. It seems that if one wants a decent park they must be prepared to pay for it. This seems to be the general trend around the country nowadays, but capital cities are really going overboard in my impression. We did find one park though at Gwelup that has a price structure with a difference: they have a fee for a van with only one occupant, this is not often found anywhere else as there is generally a minimum fee that covers two occupants. This means that while Linda is in Melbourne I get a caravan park that I consider near the top of the range, but only paying the same cost as the cheaper parks, in fact the price is about the same as we are paying where we are now. It will cost us a little more for the first two weeks while Linda is still here but this will be subsidized by the group discount we receive for being a member of Top-Tourist.

During our travels around caravan parks we took it as an opportunity to see some of the Perth area, so seeing we were close we went to the coast for lunch. We did notice that the walking tracks along the coast in Perth are probably the best prepared of any we have seen in the rest of the country. It so happens the park we have chosen is close to the coast so I should be able to get in a lot of walking along the tracks. We also noticed that there are a lot of parks and reserves within the Perth boundary and during our travels it was a little hard to believe that we are actually in a capital city. We did travel close to, and got a glimpse of the city area but will venture in there at some later stage.

Perth at last.

Sunday 27th April 2008, Perth.

I wonder if many travellers are as indecisive about their travels as we are. We intended heading off from Albany today and going about 250K to a small place called Wagin (pronounced wage-in), staying overnight only and then moving on to either York or Northam which are about an hour east of Perth. We were then going to have a day trip to Perth and check out some caravan parks and make a decision which one we would stay at. After we headed off a thought was made that, why stop at a place an hour out of Perth then make that lengthy trip just to have a look only to return with van a day or so later, why not rather go to a park in Perth and have a look from there at our leisure. Then: why go the long way to Perth via Wagin, why not just go all the way today? The rest is history because we are here at last. It now seems, after ringing a few parks, that some of our choices, due to price range, are booked out so our choices are now very limited anyway, so we will have a look anyway, but will probably stay where we are.

We did notice today a big change in the scenery, up till Albany since being in WA, the flora of the area was different than we have seen anywhere else, but the trip today was like we could have been almost anywhere in Australia that has tree growth, then the last half of the trip was very reminiscent of the Asbestos Ranges in Tassie via the road between Exeter and Devonport. Perth so far has been a different experience as well, as while on the roads we traveled for 20K or so within Perth’s boundaries it seemed as though we were still out in the country. Maybe we were on the outskirts, or they hide the housing areas well with tree growth, I guess we will find out more after being here a while.

Albany, A nightmare day.

Friday 25th April 2008, Albany.

We woke up this morning, late as usual, looked out the window to see the sun shining brightly and wondered whether we were going to have a fine day for a change. This would be good as we had planned on pulling down the awning walls while they are dry so our departure would not be hindered on Sunday, I even decided to put on my shorts. That was the only good thing that happened for the day, as not long after having breakfast the clouds came over again and rain once again threatened, we decided to dismantle the walls anyway before it did rain. Then the caravanners nightmare happened: An infestation of ants was discovered. This is about the fourth time this has happened to us during our travels, but this time they seemed to have taken over the entire caravan instead of just nesting in one area. Needless to say just about everything had to come out of the van so we could attempt to eradicate the offenders. We have, we think, succeeded in getting them, but there will no doubt be a few of the blighters appear over the next few days that we missed, but we are armed with the old spray cans. So after all that, and managing to get the awning down, we had had enough of the day so it was an easy tea, take-away, and just sit and relax for the evening, and that was it for another exciting day.

Albany

Wednesday 23rd April 2008, Albany.

We experienced the noted WA winds today, well we have been for most of the week we have been here, but rather we ventured out in it today. We had to go out touring today as we can’t stay here forever, so we ventured down to Whale World and the Peninsula it is situated on. Whale World is a well worthwhile attraction and is a must do when in the area. It is an actual old whale station where they used to process whales in years gone past, and some of the working are still in good order and give a good idea of what the machinery was like and worked. They also have several small movie theatres, converted whale oil storage tanks, a very novel idea, giving a good representation of what happened here. While in the area we had a look at some features of Torndirrup National Park such as a blow hole. This is where we experienced the noted westerly WA winds, we nearly got blown away. If we get a chance on a finer day before we leave we will have another trip down there to see what it is like in sunny weather, and to visit another attraction we gave a miss due to the wind and rain.

Albany and rained in.

Saturday 19th April 2008, Albany, Rained in.

It is pleasant seeing decent rain since it has been a while, but the unfortunate part is that it is not very good weather for sightseeing. Never the less we will wait until Wednesday, if necessary, until the weather improves to see what we want. There are a couple of things, like Whale world, we can visit in the bad weather, and other than that I have my car racing to watch over the weekend. We can afford to spend an extra couple of days here as we have decided to basically travel direct up to Perth getting us there a little earlier than planned.

I have had a couple ask what happened with Kay and Adrian for us to part company: We had only originally planned to cross the Nullarbor Plains with them for company, and then part and go our own ways. It does turn out that they ended up coming to Albany as well, because where they did intend going wasn’t very welcoming, but they are in a different park than us. We did go and visit them yesterday while we were out their way looking around.

Albany

Friday 18th April 2008, Albany.

After settling in at Albany we are now getting over our feelings of disillusion with WA. Albany is a reasonably sized city and is quite a nice place, in fact with the weather being as wet as it is if we can’t see all we want to in the week we had planned on staying we will have no worries about staying a bit longer.

We had our usual visit to the information centre today, but this time we were armed with a few questions of a type that one would not normally think to take with them:

1. There are so many towns around the area that end with the letters ‘UP’, this must have some meaning? Answer: The names are a remnant of an aboriginal tribe called Bibbulmun, and ‘UP’ means place of. Eg Badgerup means Place of wild rushes. Here is a list I compiled of some of the names: Dalyup, Coomalbidgup, Munglinup, East Munglinup, Jacup, Jerramungup, Needilup, Badgebup, Ewlyamartup, Pallinup, Gnowangerup, Kebaringup, Lake Toolbrunup, Carrolup, Nalyerup, Magitup, Kendenup, Woogenellup, Kojaneerup, Poronganup, Perillup, Quinninup, Perup, Manjimup, Callcup, Channybearup, Yeagarup, Peerabeelup, Balingup, Wandillup, Barrabup, Yoganup, Jalbarragup, Darradup, Boranup, Cowaramup, Metricup, Yallingup, Mullalyup, Cundrinup, Kirup, Wonnerup, Dardanup, Mungalup, Binningup, Wokalup, Warawarrup, Cookernup, Wagerup, Coolup, Marrinup, Wattleup.

2. I get the impression that all inland towns are reasonably small with not a great deal to offer for tourists, is this true? Answer: Most inland towns are mainly farming towns, and although each has something individual to offer, that statement is basically correct. I then asked for an example of some of the things they offer, she could not give an answer. I guess we will find out during out travels. This is the reason I made the point of being disillusioned, that we had planned on spending several months, later in the year, of touring many of the inland towns, it would prove to be somewhat boring if they are all small and not offering much. Again I say we will see what the future brings.

 After all that we went for a drive up two mountains within the city boundaries to have a look from their lookouts and some of the scenery was quite spectacular, but spoiled somewhat today with overcast weather. I have posted a couple of shots on Flickr anyway. We also saw some Lizards while on one of the mountains, photos also on Flickr as well as below, one shot was one on his lonesome and the other is a family group shot, basking on a rock in the periodic sun. We are now looking forward to some good weather so we can more enjoy some scenic tours.

Albany

Wednesday 16th April 2008, Albany.

We are now at Albany after an exhausting 350K trip, see map. We are hopeful that from now on for a while that our trips will be a lot shorter as we are now feeling the results of the long constant travel. We are now also feeling disillusioned with WA because of the travel, and that the towns we have passed through recently are very small and don’t seem to have a great deal to offer. We are wondering if all the inland towns here will be of a similar nature. We did say at Esperance that we had the feeling of being back in civilisation, but it was only because of the remoteness we have had for a while previous to that. It was a nice enough area, as was Hopetoun, they did have their individual touristy things but they didn’t live up to the stories we had heard about them. We are now saying again that we feel like being back in civilisation because Albany is a decent size city that seems as though it does have a fair bit to offer in sightseeing, it has hills and mountains in close proximity, and decent shopping centres as well, and a tobacconist as I did run out of supplies yesterday and was hanging out until we got here, and I am now feeling a lot better. We are now once again talking about what our future plans of how long we are going to spend in WA, but I guess the next few months will dictate the result of these discussions, weather has committed us to the rest of the year at least. I am probably babbling on a little as I am feeling a bit buggered after today’s trip, so we are both looking forward to a week of rest and short touring in the area. The forecast is for not very good weather for the next week so our immediate plans could even change again, seeing we want to see much of this area as we may not return this way.

By the way, we have parted company with Kay and Adrian as we both wanted to go our own way from here, the parting was very mutual. It was nice to have their company over the Nullarbor though, I don’t now how much worse the feeling we would have about WA if we had been on our own.

Hopetoun

Tuesday 15th April 2008, Hopetoun.

I am starting to have a change of heart about Hopetoun and am now of the opinion that it is quite a nice area, it is strange how first impressions can have such an adverse affect on ones ideas. This is why we can’t strictly adhere to others ideas of different places, they could have had an equally bad introduction.

We went for a drive today to the local National Park, Fitzgerald River NP, and the scenery here was so different to other National Parks. I found I wasn’t worrying about the scenery so much as taking photos of the native flora and wild flowers, I have posted some on Flickr. The mountains at the Park did have their own features making them as interesting as any other NP, but it really was the vast plains of these different local bushes and wild flowers that stood out so much, I guess this is now starting to make us realise that we are in a different location.

Hopetoun

Monday 14th April 2008, Hopetoun.

Just to write Hopetoun again to show I spelled it the same correct way. We are now at Hopetoun, about 250K west along the coast from Esperance. See map. Our mail did turn up today so it on the road again. We chose Hopetoun as it will break the long trip to Albany, and being on the coast we thought it would be a nice place to spend a couple of days. Hopetoun probably would be a nice place, but we have had a couple of bad experiences so far so we have already adopted the ‘Not so nice place’ attitude, meaning what I say about the town is not necessarily what others would think. The whole town is at present being ripped up for waste water drainage works so it is a bit hard to get a good impression of the town. When we booked into the caravan park I seemed to develop a dislike for the manager with his ‘I don’t care’ attitude, and the fact that he guided me through a tree in a tight section of the park, not that any sections are not tight, and ripped the aerial off the side of the caravan. He then proceeded to talk with a camper who looks as though he has been here for a while and seemed to forget that I was there still waiting for directions. As I knew which site we were on I just continued on my own merry way. The other thing that is detracting from our experience is that we seem to have travelled so far coming over here and we still haven’t found any major civilised city, but rather just small towns, so the realisation of being in WA still hasn’t sunk in. We do know that this will change in a couple of days when we reach Albany, and from then on we should be in closer and higher populated areas rather than great distances with nothing between what are small towns anyway.

Esperance

Sunday 13th April 2008, Esperance.

Our plans for tomorrow are somewhat in the air, as we are waiting for mail. It was sent from Tassie on Sunday last week and as of Friday wasn’t here, in my experience this now makes WA the slowest mailing state in the country, second only to Victoria. Our experience there was 5 working days to travel 150 K only, at least here it has to travel from one side of the country to the other. If it doesn’t turn up tomorrow we will have no option but to stay for as long as it does take. We are packed and ready to move and fortunately this park is one of the very few that has a vacating time of later that 10:00AM, being 1:00PM, which will give us time to check.